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Competing theories on Bengals' interest in Greg Hardy

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ESPN beat writer Coley Harvey predicted that the Bengals will sign defensive end Greg Hardy -- a prediction that's dangerously ballooned into "the team is interested". Another Bengals beat writer applies the team's history with a different outcome.

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Predictions are generally used for entertainment reasons, which conclude with a fun prophesy without the hassle of actually being wrong. Hey... "it's just a guess." It's like a mock draft for those obsessed with big-name free agents. No one takes the time to review how accurate experts are at mock drafts -- and if you're that obsessive, you need help. ESPN beat writer Coley Harvey offered one prediction on Wednesday:

Greg Hardy will be in stripes: While it's still not likely the Bengals will be among the most active Day 1 spenders, don't be surprised if they make a run at Hardy, the Panthers free agent defensive end cleared of domestic violence charges in February. The team has had conversations about Hardy, and with about $40 million in cap space entering free agency, the Bengals have room to sign him. A double-digit sack producer, the 26-year-old Hardy should immediately improve Cincinnati's pass rush.

- It's not likely that the Bengals will be active spenders during the first day of free agency
- The team has had "conversations";
- There's plenty of salary cap space

The keywords have been addressed. And this has translated into:

Wait. What?!

In the meantime, Geoff Hobson answered a mailbag about big name free agents and the conversation navigated toward Greg Hardy.

Is it that kind of thinking that is keeping them from winning the big one? Or has it helped them keep a playoff team intact? The Bengals say it every year. The winners in March don't match the winners in January. Cleveland and Oakland always seem to be aggressive in free agency.

I’m trying to anticipate what is going to happen, which is my first mistake. But I know what’s not going to happen. They're not going to run out and give Greg Hardy three years, $30 million in the first two days of free agency like the Packers did Julius Peppers last year. If anybody gets the big money, it is (their) own guys. (If Hardy hangs around for a week or so, maybe they give it a run, but I think the suspension question is going to scare them out of it.)

... Well, three years for $30 million actually seems a bit low. I was expecting two years for that money, but then why would a 26-year-old impact player only sign a two-year deal?

The question of character is an important one. Character isn't defined by the legal system -- it's extraordinarily subjective based on a person's perspective. Your view on character isn't the same as mine. That's what makes us individuals. Cincinnati has reviewed their perspective on character over the years and has enhanced those definitions.

"We made a conscious effort to draft and bring in good people," Brown said before Tuesday's kickoff luncheon in 2013. "I think with (Andy) Dalton and (A.J.) Green as examples, with (Andrew) Whitworth as an example, this is how we want to be perceived. Over the years we've dug ourselves into a hole. I'm probably the one who did it. We brought in guys and worked with them. Sometimes they came around and sometimes they didn't."

Around the same time, head coach Marvin Lewis reiterated Browns' point:

"I don't think Chris Henry, we would pick today," Lewis said via Dan Wetzel with Yahoo! Sports. "See, Chris had social issues [at the time of the draft but] he hadn't really gotten into legal issues. Chris would have a harder time today just because we would be more sketchy on if he could handle the day to day of being a good teammate. I think there was always a feeling that boys will be boys," Lewis continued. "There are some boys that just can't get over being boys. And unfortunately, the organization had to learn that."

Have these lessons been learned, or are they under constant application? Does his case/issue matter?